David Mazzucchelli's Asterios Polyp, now in store! (On sale on Tuesday.)

Asterios Polyp is David Mazzucchelli's very first graphic novel of his own, and we're so excited for its arrival into the bookstore's loving arms. The story of a middle-aged architecture professor, Mazzucchelli tells it a little differently: he explores Polyp's psyche from the perspective of his stillborn twin, Ignazio, with that takes full advantage of the unique narrative, rhytmic and aesthetic qualities of comic.

In the ultimate mid-life crisis, when he is newly divorced and his apartment burns down, Polyp takes the money in his wallet, and leaves behind him New York, his career, and, tentatively, his past. Psychologically damaged from various traumas and life-choices, he flees to the American heartland, in an attempt to either find or bury any notion of self he could have ever had.

Textual and philosophical plot aside, the brilliance of Mazzucchelli's technique is breathtaking. The book is a glorious, masterful and exemplary experiment with layout, timing, two-color printing and various drawing styles. For example, in a matter of three chapters, he goes from expressionistic, dynamic manga-like panels, to the total opposite (panel-free compositions where narration relies on an abstract but ordered organic readind), and ends with pages of characters drawn in drastically different styles in every single panel.

Asterios Polyp is a remarkable graphic novel in the sense that it showcases, and in a justifiable way, insanely diverse and impactful storytelling techniques only possible in comics. Thanks to Mazzucchelli's always dynamic, ingenious and surprising treatment of psychology and story, every page is a delight.

Did I mention the ending actually gave me goosebumps? I hear that's how you recognize pure comic artist genius.

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